This introductory video gives you some tips and tricks and information to help you get started with mosaic knitting. This is a technique I use in my latest pattern, Starry Night.
Mosaic knitting is so easy that in this video you’re looking at my face instead of my hands, because I can talk you through the points! Honestly, the only techniques required are knitting, purling, slipping and counting.
The video is right here, but if you want the no-frills version (or to refer to the key points again later), I’ve also got them summarised in this post after the video if you’d like to read them.
There are also a couple of tips and tricks that I didn’t think to mention in the video (in fact, one of my test knitters suggested adding one of these), so I thought I should pop these in up front! A couple of tricks to consider that might help you with mosaic knitting.
- Marking out pattern repeats – some people find it helpful to mark out the pattern repeats using stitch markers so that you can check that you are in the right place throughout the row. This might be helpful while you’re working the mosaic sections (and, if you have different types of stitch markers, it might be useful to have different markers at the ends for the border stitches as well). Just note that the pattern repeat width is different for the body mosaic and the border mosaic, so if you are using this technique I’d recommend removing these markers at the end of each mosaic section and placing them again on the first row of the next mosaic section.
- Lifelines – I’ve mentioned lifelines when talking about some of my other patterns – if you are nervous or tackling this pattern without a lot of experience, you may want to place lifelines so that if you do need to rip back and try again on the mosaic pattern, that you can do this without a lot of stress.
A few key points about mosaic knitting
- What is mosaic knitting? Mosaic knitting is a way of doing colourwork where you only ever work with one colour at a time. The pattern is created by slipping stitches to keep them in the colour that you aren’t working with. Mosaic knitting can be worked in garter stitch or stocking stitch depending on the effect that you want – my pattern, Starry Night, uses stocking stitch.
- How do I work in mosaic knitting? Work a stripe (a right side and a wrong side row) in one colour and then switch to the next colour for the next stripe (a right side and a wrong side row). The pattern tells you which colour you’re working with and which stitches to knit or slip. (My pattern comes with written instructions and charts, so you can use whichever you prefer). These stripes always alternate in the mosaic sections, so you should be switching between colours every two rows (1 right side and 1 wrong side row).
- How do I slip my stitches? Stitches in mosaic knitting are always slipped purlwise, so the stitch is never twisted or changed on your needles, you are simply moving the stitch from one needle to the other without working it so that it stays the same colour. The working yarn is carried on the wrong side of the item, so that the pattern shows through clearly. This means that when you are knitting, you slip your stitches purlwise with yarn in back. And when you are purling, you slip your stitches purlwise with yarn in front.
- How do I know what to do on the wrong side rows? The wrong side rows are really easy and all follow the same instructions – you purl the stitches that are the same colour as the yarn that you are working with and you slip all the stitches that were slipped on the previous wrong side row. (There are still a few border stitches that need to be worked on each side too, but these follow the same pattern throughout the whole shawl and are super easy to remember). If you do want to check what you are doing on wrong side rows, you can also refer to the chart. By reading the chart from left to right, you can see what stitches should be worked and slipped on wrong side rows.
- How do I know what colour to work with in the chart? The first stitch of every row is in the colour that row is worked in (and, because you can read them in reverse, the last stitch is the same colour, too!). So by looking at the colour of the first stitch in the row, you can tell what colour you are using for that row. Once you get going, you will also know because of the alternating pattern that mosaic knitting follows.
- Help! My mosaic section is not as wide as my stocking stitch section. What do I do?Don’t worry if your mosaic section pulls in a little tighter than your stocking stitch – just make sure that you can gently stretch it sideways to the same width. If so, it will come straight when blocking. That’s exactly what happened with mine!
Tips to watch out for when mosaic knitting
- You should never slip a stitch that is the same colour as you’re working with – you should either be knitting or purling that. If the pattern is telling you that you should be slipping a stitch that is the same colour as the one you’re working with, you have probably got out of sync with the pattern repeats and it’s a good sign for you to check how you’re working on that row to see if something has gone wrong.
- Another indicator to check that you are working repeats correctly is the partial pattern repeat at the end to get to the stitch marker – if you have more or less stitches left at the end, you may be out with your pattern repeats and it’s another good time to check your work along the row.
- Colours within the mosaic section always alternate – if you think that your next right side row should be the same colour as the wrong side row that you’ve just worked, it’s a good time to check what’s going on. Unless you’re finishing a mosaic section and moving on to stripes or a body section, this shouldn’t happen.
After the pattern? Click on this link to go to my Ravelry store.
After the yarn? This yarn is from Bleating Art Yarn
Curious to know the story behind this wrap? Click here to find out the whole story!
Any other questions about mosaic knitting? Please get in touch – I’m happy to help if I can!